The ear is a fascinating instrument. One of the critical organs of the human body, it is far more complex than one might expect. Our ears are responsible for far more than just our hearing; they also help to ground us in reality. Hearing loss itself might not cause a balance disorder, but it all depends where the damage in the ear is. Below, you’ll learn more about how balance and hearing loss are related.
The Relationship between Balance and Hearing Loss
The vestibular system is the body’s instrument for controlling a sense of balance and gravity, involving both the ears and the eyes. A component in the inner ear called the labyrinth, due to its maze-like appearance, is mainly responsible for these things. An intricate and highly sensitive construction of bone and tissue, it orients a person’s sense of gravity, helping you know which way is up and down.
Your eyes also play a role, giving you the visual cues to make sense of up and down. However, when the labyrinth suffers, the body relies more heavily on its vision and joints, thus causing dizziness, headaches, and muscle strain. It can also affect your hearing, as the labyrinth consists of both semicircular canals, otolithic organs, and the cochlea, which involves hearing. Therefore, balance and hearing loss are only associated when the labyrinth suffers harm.
Causes of Balance Disorders
How does this harm occur? Common reasons that balance disorders, also known as vestibular disorders, happen include a traumatic head injury, an eye muscle imbalance, an inner ear infection, or low blood pressure. Oddly enough, having a balance disorder might not have to do with your ears whatsoever. Being highly sensitive organs, however, the ear is likely to reveal signs of an underlying health issue.
Labyrinthitis describes the phenomenon of balance and hearing loss due to an ear infection. When one of the nerves that sends signals from the ear to the brain becomes inflamed due to infection, it could directly inflame the labyrinth, causing hearing loss. If this happens to you, you ought to find out if it is a viral or bacterial infection in the inner ear or a respiratory infection.
Get Help Immediately If . . .
As mentioned above, not every balance disorder relates to the ear. Get help at once if you also have any of the following symptoms:
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
Trust the Experts at Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions
Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service to the surrounding areas of Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that are personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.